The nonprofit is appealing to the Apache Software Foundation to culturally appropriate its name from an actual Native American tribe.
Non-profit organization, natives in technology(Opens in a new window)which represents indigenous peoples, calls on the web server provider to change its name to an “ignorant” and “offensive” cultural appropriation.
According to the Registry(Opens in a new window)the non-profit organization published a blog post(Opens in a new window) questioning why the software foundation took the Apache name in the first place. Video(Opens in a new window) of the foundation’s own origins, co-founder Brian Behlendorf says he came up with the name Apache out of admiration for the Native American tribe.
“I don’t want to be a culture appropriator or anything,” says Behlendorf in the video, “Just saw a documentary about Geronimo(Opens in a new window) (famous Apache leader) and sort of the final days of a Native American tribe called the Apaches who succumbed to the invasion from the West, from the United States, and were the last tribe to give up their territory.”
“For me, it almost romanticized what I felt we were doing with this web server project that you know Microsoft owned 95% of desktops at the time,” he added.
However, Natives in Tech says the foundation adopted the name Apache based on harmful stereotypes about indigenous peoples. “This frankly dated spaghetti-western romantic depiction of a vibrant and vibrant community as dead and departing to build a tech company for the greater good is as ignorant as it is insulting,” the group wrote.
Natives in Tech says the foundation basically chose the name Apache because the actual Native American tribe was portrayed as pure, simple, and embodying the warrior spirit. (In an interview in 2000(Opens in a new window)Behlendorf added that he chose the name Apache because it was associated with “Take no prisoners. Be a little aggressive and kick someone’s ass.”) But Natives in Tech says that romanticizing Native people in this way risks “making them static, not dynamic.”
“It also distances Indigenous peoples from modern technology, which is exactly what the foundation represents,” added Natives in Tech.
The Apache Software Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But on its website, the foundation noted(Opens in a new window)“The name “Apache” was chosen out of respect and appreciation for the people and tribes who call themselves “Apache.”
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The website adds, “We have been asked at times about claims regarding the use of the name ‘Apache’ by Apache Native American communities. In twenty-five years of using “Apache” as part of its name, ASF has never been involved in any legal dispute with Native American communities or any other party over the use of the “Apache” name.
However, Natives in Tech disagrees with this statement, saying it suggests that the eight federally recognized Apache tribes actually condone the foundation usurping the name. Natives in Tech now promises to increase the pressure if the foundation remains silent. “The indigenous people are #not yourmascot(Opens in a new window). We will push harder with increasing demands for reparations justice if the answer here is inaction.” tweeted(Opens in a new window) Desiree Kane, one of the authors of the Native in Tech blog post.
The non-profit organization is also circulating the petition(Opens in a new window) calling for signatures, calling on the Apache Software Foundation to change its name.
UPDATE: In a statement, a spokesperson for the Apache Software Foundation said: “We hear Native American concerns and we are listening. As a non-profit run by volunteers, changes will take time to be carefully considered with members, management, and our legal team. Our members are exploring alternative ways to address this issue, but we have nothing to share at this time.”
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